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The future of retail

The future of retail can be described in one word – blended. Natalie Berg, retail analyst, author and founder of NBK Retail explains how physical and digital retail are combining to provide the best experience for consumers.

“On the one hand we have physical retailers looking to digitise their stores, looking to technology to bring bricks and mortar into the 21st century. But on the other hand, we also have retailers looking to make their digital experiences more immersive,” said Natalie. 

Retailers are experimenting with all sorts of technology to connect online shoppers with in-store staff, so there’s a blurring of lines. 

“We’ve seen the rise of augmented reality, live streaming, we’re also seeing virtual shopping consultations.” 
“All of these aspects are accelerating the convergence between physical and digital retail. And offering a really compelling hyper personalised experience for the customer regardless of whether they are in the physical or digital world.”
According to Natalie, there is a real race on in retail at the moment to offer the most frictionless in-store experience. Retailers are taking the lessons learnt from the online world about convenience and ease of use, and trying to replicate these in a physical setting. In addition, most sales today are digitally influenced. 

“We have to remember that when customers come into a store, they are hyper informed, they’re up to their eyeballs in information,” says Natalie. 
“And so, retailers are responding to that by looking to technology to enhance the experience and equipping their staff with the right technology.”

The challenge for retailers is to ensure they are offering a blended and seamless wholistic experience, and meeting customers wherever they are - and that’s a real shift. 
“In the future we won’t know where the physical world ends and where the digital one begins.” 

“In the future we won’t know where the physical world ends and where the digital one begins.”